You Said What?

A few years back my cousin joined a group of women for a beach trip. There were five total. As they made their way to Florida they talked about everything under the sun including what medications they took.

It turned out all but one in the car took antidepressants. My cousin was the only one not drinking the Kool-Aid.

At the time, this revelation surprised me as much as it surprised my cousin. But, now, it appears to be a common practice to be taking antidepressants.

Percentage of People Taking Antidepressants

I decided to do a little checking. Turns out that between 1988 and 2008, antidepressant use increased nearly 400 percent. According to the Scientific American (2014), it is the third most frequently taken medication in the U.S. In 2013, it was estimated by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that up to 13 percent of all Americans were taking antidepressants. Now, the numbers are higher.

Last year, I attended a course offered by Dr. Norm Shealy. What he shared with us opened my eyes! I walked away from the one-day workshop understanding that antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications are only for short-term use and might be ineffective in the first place. Dr. Shealy shared information that indicated long-term use could lead to depression.

It’s not just Dr. Shealy who is questioning the effectiveness of antidepressants.

In Psychiatric Times Steve Balt, a Psychiatrist at John Muir Behavioral Health in Concord, California reported: “In an analysis of 74 antidepressant trials registered with the FDA between 1987 and 2004, Turner and colleagues, found that nearly half (36 or 48.6%) were negative, and the vast majority of these were either not published or were published in a way that made the drug seem favorable.”

After reviewing many studies, some with rather large populations (over 25,000 patients), Balt concluded: “Data appear to confirm two stark truths about antidepressants. First there seem to be no significant differences among them….Second, and somewhat surprisingly, antidepressant effectiveness is quite low.”

In the workshop, Dr. Shealy told us that antidepressants are shown to be effective 42 percent of the time. Placebos, according to researchers, seem to be helpful 30 percent of the time. This raises the question: Why are more people taking something that seems to be mostly ineffective?

And surely, there are better options for treatment that don’t come fully loaded with unpleasant side effects such as loss of sexual desire, weight gain, dry mouth, blurred vision and constipation.

What is the alternative?

If antidepressants don’t work and there are people who are suffering (whether from sudden life changes and events or long-term clinical diagnosis) what is one supposed to do?

I have used it in over 30,000 patients and consider it unquestionably the treatment of choice for depression

—Dr. Norm Shealy

What is the answer?

The alternative? The alternative is the Liss Stimulator. Dr. Shealy isn’t the only one that thinks the device works. Dr. Richard Brown, a psychiatrist at Columbia University, claims that his success rate with the device is 80 percent and many of these are people who suffered from major depression. The device apparently targets the limbic system. It’s this region of the brain that activates the release of dopamine and serotonin, which are neurotransmitters that make us feel good.

And it keeps getting better …

This device is FDA cleared to treat depression, anxiety, insomnia and chronic pain.

According to Dr. Shealy: “In later experiments I demonstrated that the Liss CES (Cranial Electrical Stimulator) increases both cerebrospinal and blood levels of serotonin and beta-endorphin. It has virtually no effect upon norepinephrine. Depressed patients who use the Liss stimulator daily for two weeks come out of depression within two weeks 50 percent of the time.”

The device generates 15,000 cycles per second, which is then modulated 15 and 500 times per second. There is a built in timer to go off after 20 minutes. Dr. Shealy recommends daily use for 60 minutes. According to Dr. Shealy: “It can be used across the temples or forehead to just below hairline in back. It is terrific not only for depression but also for jet lag, insomnia and just for a quick mental boost when you did not get adequate sleep the night before.”

I have been using my Liss Stimulator since the workshop I attended with Dr. Shealy. I primarily use mine for energy boosts and while traveling.  For me, it’s a valuable tool.

How do you get one?

This device requires a prescription. You can go directly to Fischer Wallace and purchase or you can do so through Samvit Wellness by sending an email. The price is the same.

Allyn Evans